The Lost Tomb Of Jesus

The Lost Tomb Of Jesus is a thoughtful and intriguing documentary about an important, possible discovery.  Did Simcha Jacobovici and his team of filmmakers and experts properly interpret a small group of ossuaries (think tiny, heavy coffins) that Jewish archeologists were originally mistaken about?  To put it simply, did they find the final resting place of Jesus Christ and members of his family?
 
Jacobovici and his crew clearly don’t make the fatal error of saying they have with utmost certainty.  But they have made a strong case for their viewpoint.
 
We learn that during the late ’70s and early ’80s underground tombs, primitive cemetaries in all honesty, were discovered throughout Jerusalem.  It was the discovery of one particular tomb in Talpiot in 1980 that is the focal point of the documentary.  10 ossuaries were found inside although we learn at one point that one was unaccounted for.  (More on that in a moment.)
 
6 of these well-preserved coffins contain unusual inscriptions on the sides.  Thanks to a very helpful narrator and easy-to-understand visuals we are told that the inscriptions are actually the names of the dead who were placed inside these ossuaries.  Most were carved in Aramaic, the dominant language of Jerusalem of the time.  As a result, we may be looking at the final resting places of “Jesus, Son of Joseph”, “Mary” (his mother), “Jose” (his father, Joseph), and even Joseph’s grandchild, Jesus’ son.
 
Mary Magdalene (who may very well have been Jesus’ devoted wife and fellow missionary) has her name carved in Greek.
 
The missing ossuary was likely stolen, either directly out of the original tomb or from the Israeli warehouse where it was supposed to be properly stored and accounted for, and “around 1980”, a collector says he bought it from Arab businessmen.  In 2002, the inscription on the side of this ossuary was translated as being “James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus”.  There is no firm agreement on whether this is true or not.  In fact, throughout the film we hear from experts who don’t believe any of this is a significant discovery.  (Their contention is that the names were rather common.)  However, how likely is it that these particular names were all found in the same tomb?  Not so common, we’re told, which deepens the mystery.
 
The 2-hour plus documentary is beautifully photographed and holds your interest throughout.  You are reminded again and again how beautiful Israel is and how its roots are very important to our international history. 
 
It’s neat to learn that Mary Magdelene was an equal among men during her time.  Thanks to the discovery of something called The Acts of Philip, we learn that she was no whore.  She was Mother Teresa’s predecessor and Jesus could very well have been the love of her life.  Because of a sexist movement that launched long after her death some of the evidence that further examined her respected role as preacher and champion of the downtrodden was burned and/or destroyed. 
 
As stated before on this website (and through the writings of retired Bishop John Shelby Spong), many of the tenets of Christianity – virgin birth, resurrection, the miracles, Mary Magdelene the prostitute – were revisions added to the original texts.  The original Bible itself was written many decades after the events it chronicles.  Unless more discoveries are unearthed in the future that could further enlighten us during this period of history, we will never know for sure how everything actually went down. 
 
One thing is for certain.  Science has easily disproved the more fanciful aspects of the story.  A human virgin birth is impossible, especially since the documentary reveals that Jesus wasn’t an only child.  (He had several brothers.)  You can’t resurrect a dead body because it goes against the laws of science.  The same goes for miracles.  If you don’t have enough food for thousands, you’re screwed.  Period.
 
As Bishop Spong has argued for years, fundamentalism has tried to maintain the Biblical revisions in order to stifle debate and continue to preach sexist, hateful rhetoric.  They also believe God wrote the Bible and that every word he wrote is true and indisputible which is a laughable contention.  How do unproven, invisible entities get book deals?
 
Whether Jacobovici, his crew and the experts that support his findings are right or not ultimately doesn’t matter.  (In fact, they may be way off.  Despite their strong argument, it’s very hard to determine for sure if this is indeed a huge deal.)  It doesn’t take away the historical importance of Jesus Christ, the first feminist, the first liberal, the first guy to try to challenge authoritarian rule in a truly significant way.  His teachings never come out of the mouths of phonies like Michael Coren, Jerry Falwell or Ted Haggard.  They come out of the actions of ordinary men and women who try to do the right thing to make the lives of the powerless and hopeless less so.
 
We are all better off with Christ-like individuals, whether they’re religious, spiritual or neither, whose courage and determination to make positive changes the world over are commendable and deeply appreciated.  Without them, we’d behave less like Jesus and more like the Romans who unfairly persecuted him.
 
If you missed the original Canadian premiere of The Lost Tomb Of Jesus, no worries.  Vision TV is re-airing the special several more times.  The next airing is tonight at midnight, followed by an 8 p.m. broadcast this coming Saturday, March 10th.  The last day to catch it is Thursday, March 15th at 9 p.m. and at midnight.
 
It is an entertaining, serious program that will fuel many debates throughout the year.  It has been unfairly maligned by numerous know-nothings in the media.  Ignore them and see this documentary.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
11:18 p.m. 
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Published in: on March 6, 2007 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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